Editor's Note: The Lazer reporter assigned to the regular city council meeting had a mixup in schedules and missed the meeting. Lazer Editor/Publisher Mark Grayson asked both City Attorney Eldred Adams and mayor Harold Slone for comments on the meeting and asked some questions. Below is Slone's account of the meeting.
'...The Louisa City Council met January 20th at 7pm at Louisa City Hall.
The council addressed unfinished business by approving the second reading of two ordinances. One pertaining to financing a Ladder Truck that had been purchased by the previous administration but was unable to approve the financing details before going out of office. Also council approved an ordinance accepting the Water and Sewer Budget for this year which was also passed on from previous administration. Both votes were unanimous (with Council member Lisa Schaeffer not present).
The second reading of an ordinance pertaining to the changing of regular meeting times was from the 2nd Tuesday of each month to the 3rd was abandoned and not voted on due to the fact the County had changed their meeting to the same day as well as other conflicts within the community. REGULAR MEETINGS WILL REMAIN THE 2ND TUESDAY OF EACH MONTH AT 7PM AT LOUISA CITY HALL.
The final item business was dealing with the proposal of wholesale water rate increases for the Big Sandy Water District, which purchases a considerable amount of water from the Louisa Water Department on an annual basis.
The previous council had requested a rate increase of 15 cents per 1000 gallons of water for a 12 month contract of at least 5 million gallons per month. According to the city attorney Big Sandy had responded to the offer with a refusal to accept but counter offered with a proposed 15% increase for 30 months and no mention of minimum gallon purchase.
Council members debated the proposal and agreed they would accept the price and length of the contract proposed but requested the minimum purchase amount be added as it had always been. Motion was passed unanimous to present this offer to Big Sandy Water, inc.
Several council members voiced concerns about needing to keep Big Sandy as a wholesale customer including second term member Tom Parsons who said he had done his own analysis based on all the numbers and believes continuing the relationship with Big Sandy was crucial to our well being and especially with the current proposal.
The Increase proposed by Big Sandy would put the wholesale price approximately 25 cents per 1000 gallon above the cost of producing the water according to the recent study performed by the Ky Rural Water Association at the City’s request.
Council went into executive session to discuss two different items of potential litigation. Upon returning the city attorney advised the audience that council had instructed him to agree to a settlement with Ky Division of Water and Agreed to move ahead and file a legal insurance claim concerning a accident where damage was caused to city property.
The mayor and council thanked the audience for attending, noticing new faces that was present just to be informed more about their city.
Meeting adjourned with next regular meeting February 10th at 7pm."
'...Currently we have a wholesale contract with Big Sandy WaterDistrict. I think Big Sandy is either our biggest or one of our biggest wholesale customers and we derive a substantial amount of revenue from them.There has been an ongoing discussion with them about raising their rate since everything goes up.
The Council directed me to propose a 15% rate hike resulting in an increase to $3.05 per thousand gallons for a period of 30 months with a minimum usage of 5 million gallons a month. Any such rate hike would have to be approved by the Public Service Commission since Big Sandy is regulated by the PSC. Cities such as Louisa are not regulated by the PSC."
In a non related matter said his client, newly elected council member Mitch Castle has had pending Johnson County indictment for him on a 2011 matter has had the case dropped by the Commonwealth's Attoney office. Castle will cot comment officiallly until the order has been signed. Castle was the second highest vote getter in the General election for Council member which shows the citizens here apparently did not believe the charges to begin with.
"The Mitch Castle matter has been resolved. Since he is a client I can't discuss it now. Once I get a copy of the order and it becomes a matter of public record I can send you a copy if you want it."
(The levisaLazer.com has had a reporter at nearly every city council meeting, missing maybe a half dozen in the seven years of publication. We will continue to do so but please accept this form of reporting this week. --Mark Grayson)
"The person who shot theirself was Christopher M. McDowell age 41 of Highway 3 North Louisa. I will be ruling this a accidental death ( he was drunk and decided to play Russian Roulette in front of his daughter and her boyfriend," Cornoner Mike Wilson said. "Even though he took his own life it was not intentional, therefore I feel like it was a terrible mistake on his judgment but still is an accident. His body was released by my office to the Steen Funeral Home in Ashland, KY."
name not disclosed...
According to a press release from the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office the Sheriff's Office is investigating an accidental shooting that occurred on North Highway 3 just outside of Louisa.
On January 22, 2015 at approximately 9:10 pm Deputies Wilhite and Keefer responded to the scene where a 41 year old male was located with a single gunshot wound to the head.
EMS was notified and responded to the scene.
Lawrence County Coroner Mike Wilson responded and pronounced the male subject deceased.
Two witnesses at the scene stated that the male subject was playing Russian roulette and alcohol was a factor.
The death is still under investigation by Deputy D.M. Wilhite JR.
Name is being withheld pending notification of family.
Kentucky Press News ServiceThe Office of Rate Intervention, along with the Kentucky Industrial Utility Customers (KIUC), announced saving eastern Kentucky ratepayers $54 million in unlawful fuel costs charged by Kentucky Power Co., the result of a successful intervention in a utility case previously before the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC).In an order issued Thursday the PSC deemed the fuel costs unreasonable and directed Kentucky Power to refund ratepayers $13.2 million that it had already collected during the first four months of last year. Additionally, the PSC barred the company from collecting an estimated $41 million in additional fuel costs that was to be collected through the end of May 2015.
Over the 17-month period, the average residential customer will save approximately $155.“As Attorney General, I am proud to serve as an advocate for Kentucky consumers, and at a time when every dollar saved can make a difference for so many Kentuckians, I’m pleased that we are keeping this money in the pockets of ratepayers in eastern Kentucky,” Attorney General Jack Conway said. “My Office of Rate Intervention and I work hard each day protecting Kentuckians from excessive utility rates.”Kentucky law allows electric generating utilities to bill ratepayers for the reasonable costs of fuel required to run the generating plants on a monthly basis, and those charges appear each month on a customer’s monthly bill. In Thursday’s order, citing joint testimony from the Office of the Attorney General and KIUC, the PSC ruled that Kentucky Power violated PSC precedent and prior orders in the process it uses to determine fuel charges for ratepayers.Additionally, in 2013, the PSC authorized Kentucky Power to purchase a 50-percent interest in the Mitchell power plant in West Virginia to replace the Big Sandy No. 2 generating unit in Louisa, Ky. In its order, the Commission criticized Kentucky Power for failing to disclose the impact that its allocation of fuel costs would have on its ratepayers during the period when both the Mitchell plant and the Big Sandy plant remain operational. “Transparency is critical, and indeed one of the touchstone principles in the regulatory process,” the PSC said. “The failure of Kentucky Power to disclose this information in the Mitchell Case is a matter of great concern to the Commission.”Attorney General Conway opposed Kentucky Power’s plan to acquire the Mitchell plant as a replacement for the Big Sandy Unit 2 and appealed the PSC’s decision to the Franklin Circuit Court. The appeal is pending.
Kentucky Power responds to Kentucky PSC fuel case decision; still reviewing decision, Pauley says...
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky Power President and Chief Operating Officer Greg Pauley issued the following statement in response to Thursday’s order from the Kentucky Public Service Commission.
“We are still reviewing the decision and determining next steps. We are pleased that the Kentucky Commission affirms that our purchase of the Mitchell Plant generation represents the lowest reasonable cost alternative for replacing Big Sandy Unit 2 over the long term. However, we are disappointed by the suggestion that we purposefully did not disclose all cost information associated with that purchase. We have repeatedly demonstrated throughout our long history with the PSC that we are open and transparent in all of our proceedings and have never intentionally misled the commission in our dealings. The increase in fuel costs disallowed by the Kentucky PSC resulted from having both the Mitchell and Big Sandy generating units in operation during the period evaluated. It will no longer be an issue after Big Sandy Unit 2 is retired,” Pauley said.
“Kentucky Power customers actually realized $9.9 million in net cost benefits from having both Big Sandy Unit 2 and the Mitchell unit available to generate electricity during the extreme cold of the polar vortex last winter. Without both generating units, we would not have been able to generate enough electricity to serve our customers and would have been purchasing power from the market when costs were extraordinarily high,” Pauley said.
Kentucky Power, with headquarters in Frankfort, Ky., provides service to approximately 172,000 customers in all or part of 20 eastern Kentucky counties. It is a unit of the AEP system, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, with more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.
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